After a long election night of waiting for results to come in and before they were even officially confirmed, UConn faculty held a panel Wednesday afternoon discussing what happened on Election Day and what it means moving forward.
Between discussions of statistics, demographics and major issues, the panelists agreed that no single narrative emerged, but the results were neither disastrous nor unexpected for either the Democratic or Republican parties.
The panel consisted of public policy professor Jennifer Dineen and political science professors Ron Schurin and Paul Herrnson. Mediated by political science assistant professor Vin Moscardelli, the three panelists shared their initial data and reflections before engaging in a more fluid discussion.
Lots of facts and figures were thrown around throughout the course of the panel. The Republicans maintained a majority in the Senate and the Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives, but the panelists maintained it’s expected for the president’s party to lose ground at midterms. They also discussed which issues were most important to voters, the trend favoring Democrats in Connecticut, the significance of how campaigns are funded and the growing diversity of representation in Congress.
Overall, the three panelists agreed this election cycle was no failure for President Donald Trump, but wasn’t a total failure for Democrats either. Other than that, they focused primarily on smaller aspects of election day that didn’t sum up into a single takeaway.
Dineen chose to focus on the issues surrounding the election. According to polls, voters chose issues like immigration, healthcare and government proceedings (primarily Trump’s conduct) as most important to them. Immigration in particular has received a lot of attention as the caravan moves up through Central America, approaching the United States-Mexico border. While the Republican Party wanted their closing campaign argument to be about the recent economic boost, Trump insisted they make it about immigration instead, which seemed to serve him well, according to Dineen.
Schurin discussed at length the partisanship of the election, taking into account the successes and failures for both parties that were seen in this election cycle.
“There’s something for everybody to be happy or unhappy about,” Schurin said.
He noted that although there are more Republican governors in the U.S., 51 percent of Americans live in a state with a Democratic governor. Furthermore, the large number of referenda across the nation tended to lean a little more liberal, according to Schurin. Although several anti-abortion policies were approved, liberal policies concerning LGBTQ and voting rights succeeded as well.
Herrnson discussed the context of the election, how campaigns were funded and the era of women. Following the #MeToo movement, he explained the number of women running for office is increased and, according to Herrnson, “When women run, women win.”
Given all the different aspects contributing to election day results, few clear takeaways emerged that the panelists could identify, but students still used it to help understand the results of the election.
“I was watching the election on MSNBC and I felt like I couldn’t digest it entirely,” first-semester English and American studies major Brian Goggin said. “It was interesting to see what they thought and how they digested it.”
Alex Houdeshell is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.